Open source brain training software

A brain training suite like Lumosity (

$371 pledged, USD
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The project has already been 0% completed, but the developer has stalled the development.

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14 Jan
14 Jul
the developer is waiting for pledges

Developer Info

Pierre is developing this project for $15000 over 6 months.

Go to the developer’s website.

Project Info

License is open-source.

18 people are pledging, but no development has yet been paid.

Project Tags

brain training

Project details

There are no good open-source brain-training applications. Having one would be very beneficial, since:

  1. Brain training has been found to be very useful for many people (see Brain fitness on Wikipedia)

  2. The only available quality programs are very expensive : lumosity charges you every month to use their services.

Specification : the program should be an open source brain training suite, training all the areas lumosity trains, with at least the same quality.

add your own

17 comments (oldest first)

lardon 16 years ago link

I forgot one requirement: it should be cross-platform, or at least it should run on popular linux and BSD systems.

lardon 16 years ago link

Awesome, 50$ pledged! Now if we can somehow get to around 200$, I’m pretty sure someone will be interested and will make the software… Come one people, 20$ could get you the joy of bringing something new to the world, plus your name in the credits! Way cool!

randomboy 16 years ago link

the problem is that making such software is not exactly trivial. You need to have a neuroscientist working with you, not just mad coder skillz. Also some of the training methods might be subjected to nasty patent laws. But hey, I’ll chip in $25 if someone thinks he can really do it!

bikko 16 years ago link

Can’t make a quote without more detailed specifications.

Are you saying it should be an exact clone of Lumosity, except in the form of a desktop app?

Even if so, desktop apps are different than web apps. I would need more info.

As is, it sounds like you’re asking someone not only to write the app, but to design it as well. However, knowing how long it will take to write the app isn’t possible without a design.

So, even if you’re looking for an exact clone of Lumosity, writing up what exactly that means to you into a specifications document would be very helpful.

RumorControl 16 years ago link

funny thing.. i’ve got a neuroscientist working with me. my wife. we’ve talked about this software for ages now, So i’ll happily write it and for free, but the problem with this task is the requirements. it’s not like I can just pull it out of my butt. open source would mean we’d have to establish a standard question format like (in XML for example) and define the mechanisms for adding questions and trials. once you do that, the programing is trivial.

robblerobble 16 years ago link

Something that would generate novelty, I’m thinking visual novelty, would be great, too. The brain eats that sort of thing up, it generates new brain cells even.

I’ve thought of travel through randomly-generated landscapes - (seeing new places is supposed to be one of the things that works). I’m thinking a road, through mountains, with trees, different kinds of houses, terrain, bridges, rivers. Of course, whether it would be new-in-kind enough, or immersive enough, I don’t know. I know that I always think new thoughts when I go new places, whether by car or plane, however. Peter Gabriel has said he gets good ideas on trains. And a saying at Los Alamos was, that you get your ideas through the 3 ‘B’s; Bed, Bath, and Bus.

extermin8tor 16 years ago link

Robblerobble, you have a solid gold point, That would be a fantastic brain training program, especially if it had fantastic graphics (like 3dmark). I would happily put some work into something like a scenery generator.

Jabberwockey 16 years ago link

Especially as imagery helps your memory and your focus. How about using flickr images as pegs? Learning languages with peg words has proved to be very efficient and learning a new language is a proven way of extending the capabilities of your brain!

Definitely a nice project to work on!

As I see it, there will be several interesting sub-projects - so I guess we all can have a share in this.

Pierre 16 years ago * link

Just programming, with any tool, on any platform in any format, is the best brain development tool ever

Pierre 16 years ago link

The project must be modular. First develop a core with a first set of modules, that will accept any number of further modules by a crowd of different authors.

Jabberwockey 16 years ago link

Pierre: I agree with the modular part, but not with the programming part.

For some people, programming is hard to impossible to learn, as some studies have shown. They are intelligent alright - they just can’t “dumb down” their ideas for a machine.

If you want to make a product that not only helps programmers and geeks but also other people, the basic modules have to address real basic brain skills - cognitive control, impulse control, attention, focus (those two are NOT the same!), visual thinking, spatial thinking, numeracy,…

DoomGoober 16 years ago * link

I have created an open source brain trainer. You can find it here. It’s based on a peer reviewed paper published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.” There is a commercial program by Posit Science which is also based on this research. The commercial program costs $300.

But it doesn’t meet a lot of the requirements y’all have laid out: It’s Windows XP and better only (uses Microsoft-Text-to-Speech, DirectX and .NET.) It’s not super modular. Each exercise plugs into a framework but it’s pretty tightly designed to run the exercises listed in the paper.

But again, it’s based on a peer reviewed experiment, so we know that it’s not unproven or questionable science like Brain Age or Big Brain Academy.

Jabberwockey 16 years ago link

Thanks DoomGoober for the link, it’s definitely something to look into if one wants to program an OO alternative - you’re right, there are many products that claim to be “scientific”, but only if you have a peer-reviewed paper on your hands you really do know that you have something.

However, there are some feats which are at least proven empirically:

  1. Improving short-term memory by recall exercise (something magicians use a lot for certain purposes)

  2. Improving numeracy by awarding speed in quick mental calculation

  3. Improving cognitive control by “punishing” premature responses

  4. Improving memory by practicing certain mnemonic techniques

  5. Improving visual attention by forcing you to focus on more than one object at a time

Let us keep this going, the more ideas we have the better the final product will be :)

Jabberwockey 16 years ago link

Erm, please don’t take offense, your trainer is OO as well - what I meant of course was a platform-independent OO alternative :)

Pierre 16 years ago * link

I didn’t say this program should involve programming as an item, only that programming, as an activity, is excellent to train the brain. It’s a requirement to develop that part of intelligence that deals with time and the future. You need to know how to compose with elements in the present to act and survive in the future.

Pierre 16 years ago link

More important, it has to look natural, a continuous experience, not a bunch of exercises with a question and an answer as in a school book.

Jabberwockey 16 years ago link

That’s true. Did you have a look at lumosity? They’re pretty good at that. I love the birdwatching exercise for that.

Programming however is not ideal for training the mind’s introspective feature, as programming requires some logical capabilities not everyone possesses.

Congratulations for winning the project, btw.

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